BY LIM TEIK HUAT
THE Malaysian swimmers checked out the Wunna Theikdi Aquatic Stadium for the first time Monday and were not pleased with what they saw.
Coach Paul Birmingham was also not happy. He is now hoping the organisers will not switch on the water pumps during the competition which starts on Thursday.
“The water pumps generate current and it will help the swimmers on the outside lanes. They can gain half a second when it comes to the 50m distance races. I hope they (the organisers) switch it off during the heats and races.
“It happened at the recent World Youth Championships in Dubai where swimmers in the middle lanes, who were supposed to be the fastest, were at a disadvantage because of this,” said Birmingham.
Birmingham has brought a 14-member strong squad to Myanmar, but he has lowered his expectations this time.
Malaysia bagged five golds, 10 silvers and three bronzes at the 2011 edition in Indonesia but it will be hard to repeat the performance in Naypyitaw due to the absence of star swimmer Siow Yi Ting.
The four-time Olympian swimmer quit the sport two months ago and her absence will be felt in the breaststroke and medley events unless Christina Loh can get the better of the Singaporean and Thai swimmers.
Yi Ting won both the 100m and 200m breaststroke races in Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Malaysia ended the men’s water polo event on a winning note by defeating hosts Myanmar 28-11. It was Malaysia’s first win after losses to Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia in the five-team round-robin competition.
Singapore, who are seeking their 25th straight gold, will meet either Thailand or Indonesia in the final on Tuesday.